B&B conference has something for you

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 17, 2009

Natchez will play host to the Bed & Breakfast Associations from Mississippi and Louisiana beginning this coming Sunday, when B&B owners from both sides of the river will descend upon Natchez for their annual conference.

Although the conference, titled “Revel in the Past … and look to the Future,” is primarily for members of the associations, several of the conference will be open to the public.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Patrick Ashton will present a session at the Natchez Convention Center on how to open and successfully run a bed & breakfast. This will be an educational opportunity for those interested in “testing the water” as a possible future innkeeper.

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If you’re already in the business, Ashton’s insights could offer some invaluable tips for new marketing ideas and strategies that could help drive visitors to your door.

The fee for the workshop is $125 and includes lunch.

The second part of the conference open to the public is the Innkeeper Breakfast Cook-Off Competition, which will be at the Natchez Convention Center on Wednesday. A few of the innkeepers within the associations will don their aprons and heat up their ovens to compete for the title of “Best Breakfast in the South.”

The “Iron-Chef” style competition will begin at 7:30 a.m. and each contestant will prepare the signature dish for which their particular B&B is famous. After the competition is completed, breakfast will be served and Robert St. John will step to the microphone to entertain you while you dine.

St. John is a native of Hattiesburg, and for the last 20 years he as served as executive chef, president and CEO of the Purple Parrot Café, the Crescent City Grill, and the Mahogany Bar, in Hattiesburg and Meridian.

He is a nationally-known restaurateur, chef, food writer, and has authored seven books in the last six years. He has been featured on the The Food Network, The Travel Channel, and Turner South. Robert has been touted Mississippi’s top chef by Mississippi Magazine in 2006 and 2007.

His program is as entertaining as it is informational, as he delivers his thoughts and ideas with wit and wisdom.

Tickets for the cook-off and breakfast are $35 and may be purchased at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center by the bridge, or at High Cotton on Main Street.

Please turn out for these events to show these groups that Natchez truly enjoys being able to host their conferences and conventions.

Sally Durkin is the media liason for the Natchez Convention Center.